Incomplete Commentary on Matthew (Opus Imperfectum), Vol. 1 (Ancient Christian Texts Series)

InterVarsity Press, 2010 Exploring how Christians from the past have interpreted and applied the Scriptures has been made much easier with Ancient Christian Texts, a series of neglected, ancient Christian commentaries translated into English.

The two volumes of the Incomplete Commentary on Matthew offer a translation of the ancient commentary on the book of Matthew. Written by an anonymous, 5th-century Christian, translated by James A. Kellerman, and edited by Thomas C. Oden and Gerald L. Bray, the commentary includes theological and devotional reflections on Matthew chapters 1–8, 10–13 and 19–25. This first volume covers Matthew 1–11. This accessible translation is recommended for anyone who is curious about how some of the earliest Christians understood the Bible. Small groups and individuals might consider using both this volume and a modern commentary on Matthew as they work through the text—comparing and contrasting how ancient and modern commentators approach Scripture.

Reviewed by James R. Hamrick

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: 1-2 Chronicles, Vol. 5a

Tyndale, 2010 Chronicles, with its long genealogical lists, unpronounceable names, and sheer breadth of material, often seems like too much work for too little “spiritual” benefit. But Mark J. Boda’s commentary—based on the New Living Translation—reveals how fascinating Chronicles is.

He stays focused on the main purpose of a commentary, which is to interpret the text in an understandable way. This commentary employs an uncomplicated structure of translation, notes, comments and endnotes. Boda avoids excessive research citations and scholarly controversies. The commentary uses various Hebrew and Greek word-numbering systems, including the Tyndale-Strong system and the Zondervan Hebrew system.

Reviewed by Stephen M. Vantassel in the Jan-Feb '11 issue of Bible Study Magazine.

Atlas of the Bible

Zondervan, 2010 Knowledge of biblical geography and an appreciation for its role in understanding Scripture is a common weakness for Christians. Carl G. Rasmussen addresses this weakness in Zondervan’s Atlas of the Bible as he progresses through Old and New Testament history with clear, easy-to-read maps, photographs and supporting commentary.

Part 1 covers the physical attributes of biblical lands, such as elevations, climate and habitat zones. The relief maps reveal why the ancients chose certain valleys and passes for both travel and the founding of cities. Particularly noteworthy is a land chart that illustrates the size of areas in the Middle East by comparing them with the us.

Part 2 contains atlases based on historical periods, beginning with the pre-patriarchal age and ending with Paul’s travels. Bible students will appreciate Rasmussen’s succinct description of key events in the period and maps that illustrate political boundaries and battles.

This atlas gives due attention to both the New Testament lands and Paul’s travels. The political and relief maps are reinforced by photographs that provide a good sense of the land and times.

Reviewed by Stephen M. Vantassel in the Jan–Feb '11 issue of Bible Study Magazine.